Surviving the Post-Holiday Season The 10-Minute Cleanup

Shannon McGinnis is a Certified Professional Organizer. Her new book, The 10-Minute Tidy: 108 Ways to Organize Your Home Quickly, is chock full of quick and easy to use ideas that will help you reduce the stress and enjoy the holidays. Shannon says that with a bit of quick planning, you can avoid a crisis and get organized and stay on top of things as the New Year begins!

Here are Shannon’s tips for getting things organized and off to a good start in the New Year:

After The Holidays

1. List: Create a Post Holiday Gift Action List that itemizes all the items that need to be returned, where they need to go, the people you and the family members need to thank, and who is responsible for taking the action. Create a column to check off once the action item is completed. Post this list in a prominent location where everyone in the family can see it.

2. Sort and Store: Before everyone goes back to work or school, put the gifts, toys, and other holiday decorations away. Get everyone to put them in their rooms or moved to the right storage location. Save the original packaging of fragile items for proper and safe storage.

3. Purge: Anything you do not want or that is old, chipped, faded or no longer working should be given away or thrown away.

4. Un-decorate slowly: Put the holiday decorations away before normal life resumes. Remove some of your decorations every day between Christmas and New Year’s Day so you don’t have a giant cleanup right before you have to go back to work. Evaluate the quality of your decorations before you store them. Do you really want this to go back on the mantle next year? Don’t store anything you no longer want. Give it away.

5. Prioritize: Start with the rooms that you will be living in and relying on most frequently and then continue, room by room until your entire home is cleaned-up and un-decorated from the holidays.

6. Remove: Finally, it’s time to take down the final holiday decorations. Live wreaths and trees should be discarded properly; often they can be recycled into mulch. Any ornaments made of food (popcorn, dried fruit, dough, etc) should be discarded as mice and rats will chew through even the thickest plastic bins to get to the food inside. If it is a very special memento, consider storing it in an airtight metal container. Carefully inspect items for chips, stains and tears before storing decorations and serving ware.

7. Containerize: Get the right containers for each type of decoration you have. Strands of lights and glass beads individually sealed in plastic bags avoid tangles next year. Fragile ornaments will be best protected when stored in their original packaging. Wreaths attached to a flat piece of cardboard and wrapped in a large plastic trash bag will be protected from dust. Buy containers now, while the stores have seasonal containers for wreaths, wrapping paper and ornaments.

8. Separate most important items: Create a holiday container that stores the holiday items you use first, such as holiday cards and mailing labels. This is the container you open first, either the day after Thanksgiving or on December 1st. In this container, store ribbon and wire for wreaths and grave blankets. Money cards and $20 bills on hand also make it easier to tip the service people in your life: news carrier, hair stylist, etc.

9. Store properly: When your decorations are stored in sturdy plastic containers, rather than cardboard boxes, the items will be protected from rodents, insects, and moisture. Holiday decorations that are only used for a few weeks a year can be stored furthest away: think attics, rafters, basements and storage sheds. Store wreaths at the very top so that they don’t get crushed and will look just as full and vibrant next year.

10. Re-decorate: Consider the placement of your furniture and the use of space on your horizontal surfaces before putting the same year-round decorations back in their previous locations. Is there somewhere with more light that the beautiful ceramic piece could be displayed? Should the candles stay out so that they are used more frequently throughout the rest of the winter?

Enjoy your holiday organizational success and Happy New Year!

If you are overwhelmed by the holidays, consider asking for help. Hire a Professional Organizer to help you stay organized during the holidays and throughout the year. Any expenditure that increases your peace of mind usually is worth the money. Give yourself the gift of sanity! Start the New Year out with more time to enjoy life!

“Shannon McGinnis, Santa Cruz’s only Certified Professional Organizer, is the author of a new book on organizing and time management: The 10-Minute Tidy: 108 Ways to Organize Your Home Quickly (10 minute tidy). Shannon is also the founder of Organized 4 Success and publishes the monthly “Strategies 4 Success Ezine” which offers free tips, articles, and advice on how to be more organized. If you are ready to be organized, get your FREE Success 4 Strategies now at: Organized 4 Success


Hot Moms Club was founded in 2005 and have had their fingers on the pulse of mom trends ever since. Their philosophy is simple, ‘You are not the best mom unless you are the BEST YOU!’

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